Friday, June 1, 2018

Puerto Rico reporting reflects American values - or lack of them

The Associated Press reports via the Daily Star that “8 months after the storm, thousands still have no power in Puerto Rico” Official: 2 more months to restore power in Puerto Rico. Does America even care?

Perhaps not. That’s my judgment given a recent study of what the media covers and for how long. Here’s an item from the 538 morning Significant Digits email.

12 minutes, 3 seconds
On Tuesday, two things happened: A New England Journal of Medicine article by Harvard researchers argued that the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was most likely thousands higher than the official number of 64; and Roseanne Barr, the sitcom star, was fired for a racist Twitter rant. According to the watchdog group Media Matters, CNN devoted nearly five hours to discussing Roseanne, and just over 12 minutes to discussing Puerto Rico. The other cable news networks, Fox News and MSNBC, were similarly lopsided, with Fox spending just 48 seconds on the Puerto Rico study. [Media Matters]

Check out the details in the Media Matters report: Study finds 5,000 people may have died from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Cable news focused on Roseanne instead. Cable news covered Roseanne for over 10 hours. They covered Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico for just over 30 minutes.

… Trump tweeted just days after Hurricane Maria hit that Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them.” Only half of Americans are aware that Puerto Ricans are in fact U.S. citizens. And MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude, chair of the Center for African-American Studies at Princeton University, pointed out, “When you think about 4,600 people dying – of color – dying in Puerto Rico, it reflects how their lives were valued, or less valued.”

To paraphrase a quote attributed to former VP Joe Biden, "Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget reporting , and I’ll tell you what you value.”

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